Pacific islands leaders visit Israel to solidify ties


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The presidents of two Pacific islands who vote consistently with Israel at the United Nations visited the Jewish state to enhance their relationship.

Emanuel Mori, of the Federated States of Micronesia, and Marcus Stephen, of the Republic of Nauru, met Thursday with Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres, who also was hosting a dinner in their honor later in the day. 

The presidents and their ambassadors, accompanied by Aaron Jacob of the American Jewish Committee and Michael Ronen of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visited Yad Vashem and laid wreaths at the Memorial Hall.

Following meetings with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, both presidents signed a Memorandum of Understanding on visa issues.

Mori and Stephen are scheduled to meet Thursday night with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Pacific islands delegation will discuss issues of global and strategic importance with Israeli officials and be briefed on security issues.

The weeklong visit, inaugurated by an official invitation by Peres, is being implemented under the auspices of Project Interchange, an institute of the American Jewish Committee, in collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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